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African Destinations To Visit

African Destinations To Visit

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Africa is blessed with amazing natural treasures and we hope you’ll find these destinations and events interesting and tempting to explore.

1. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (Uganda).

The park is part of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and is situated along the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) border next to the Virunga National Park. The park provides habitat for 120 species of mammals, 348 species of birds, 220 species of butterflies, 27 species of frogs, chameleons, geckos, and many endangered species.

2. Mosi-oa-Tunya/Victoria Falls (Zambia and Zimbabwe).

One of the biggest tourist attractions in Africa, Victoria Falls is undoubtedly amongst the most spectacular waterfalls in the world. Located on the mighty Zambezi River, Victoria Falls is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it is one of the largest waterfalls in the world.

3. Wildebeest migration (Kenya and Tanzania).

Certainly a must see, the migration is considered one of nature’s great spectacles and sees over a million wildebeest trek north from the Serengeti (Tanzania) to the Maasai Mara (Kenya). The wildebeests are joined on this epic journey by thousands of eland, gazelle and zebra as they cross the crocodile-infested Mara River to graze on the Maasai Mara plains.

4. Bazaruto Archipelago (Mozambique)

Is a group of six islands. Bazaruto Island is the largest in the Bazaruto Archipelago and Bazaruto National Park. The archipelago is certainly a beautiful destination which needs to be explored. The archipelago  boasts of by a wide array of marine and wildlife, azure waters and amazing beaches.

5. Ennedi Massif (Chad).
Ennedi Massif: Natural and Cultural Landscape, which was recently named one of UNESCO’s Newest World Heritage Sites. This sandstone landscape is one of the world’s finest examples of rock art and carvings. Ennedi Massif has been sculpted by water and wind erosion over time into a plateau featuring canyons and valleys that present a spectacular landscape marked by cliffs, natural arches and pitons. The site is indeed a cultural treasure.
6. Sanganeb Marine National Park and Dungonab Bay

Mukkawar Island Marine National Park (Sudan) recently inscribed as one of UNESCO’s Newest World Heritage Sites. Sanganeb is a coral atoll 25km off the coast of Sudan. Sanganeb National Park is indeed a marvel. Dungonab Bay is another remarkable marine treasure, which provides a habitat for large populations of seabirds, marine mammals, fish, sharks, and turtles.

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7. National Arts Festival (South Africa)

One of the most important events on the South African cultural calendar, and undoubtedly one of the biggest arts events on the African continent. Starting at the end of June/beginning of July, it runs for between 8 and 10 days and is held in the small university city of Grahamstown. The programme comprises drama, dance, physical theatre, comedy, opera, music, jazz, visual art exhibitions, film, student theatre, street theatre, lectures, craft fair, workshops, and a children’s arts festival.

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8. Erin Ijesha Waterfalls(Nigeria)

is also known as Olumirin waterfalls. A visit to Nigeria is not complete for a tourist without a visit to Erin-Ijesa because it’s the popular and most visited tourist attraction in Nigeria. Olumirin is a seven step waterfall and each step of the waterfall has a flowing fountain that marks the mystical nature of the place. The waterfall is a stunning assemblage of seven unique levels, with each level providing a whole new outlook when compared to the previous level. The water fall exudes a therapeutic ambience which only something natural can produce.

%name African Destinations To Visit

Exploring Zanzibar Tropical Island Adventure

Exploring Zanzibar Tropical Island Adventure

sauti za busara 1 Exploring Zanzibar Tropical Island Adventure

Zanzibar wraps its reality around you like a lingering fairytale. This tiny archipelago of Indian Ocean islands that once lured sailors, Sultans and slavers to its far-distant shores is so charismatic that it sweeps you into its shadowy romantic past and sunlit present all at once, and finally sets you down, all sun-bronzed and laden with spices and island art, and memories of an exceptionally sparkling and colourfully abundant sea.
Zanzibar pic1 Exploring Zanzibar Tropical Island Adventure
The main island is small and easy to explore, with glorious white sand, palm-fringed beaches rewarding you for just a couple of hours’ drive to the North coast and the same to the East, along mainly hopeless but endlessly fascinating roads flanked by simple homesteads, roads worn more by foot or bicycle and frequented by chickens.
 
There is a time warp here, this place where the past is so responsible for the present, where mobile phones, internet connections and television are all relatively recent, and where the history and culture is so imbued that you can simply stretch out beneath the dappled shade of the coconut palms and soak it up. Welcome to Zanzibar, and a world apart.
Zanzibar pic2 Exploring Zanzibar Tropical Island Adventure

Sailors and traders from the first century AD came to the lands of ‘Zinj el Barr’, the Black Coast, bringing beads, porcelain and silks to trade for gold, slaves and spices, ebony, ivory, indigo and tortoiseshell. They waited for annual monsoon winds to fill their dhow sails and bear them across the Indian Ocean; today’s visitors usually arrive in a small ‘plane or ferry from Dar es Salaam.

But these still afford a measured approach, allowing a breathtaking vision of sparkling cerulean waters over sandbanks and reefs, and then into Stone Town, the ancient island capital, still more of a town than a city, a maze of winding pedestrian streets in a hotchpotch of rooftops, a mass of corrugated iron overwhelming the historic stonework beneath.

Helplessly entwined in its own history, the people of Zanzibar are the Swahili, evolving from the influx of mainly Arabian and Persian immigrants who settled on the East African coast and islands to trade and escape the political upheavals of the Gulf two thousand years ago. Their cultural history was founded in sailing dhows, similar to those that glide by its shores today, boats that brought people, language and cultures and long centuries of power wrangling.

Zanzibar pic3 Exploring Zanzibar Tropical Island Adventure
The Arab immigrants were overthrown by the Portuguese in the 15th century, until the Sultan of Oman finally saw them off for good in 1698 and started building the Stone Town of today; the Old Fort on the harbour was built on the remains of a Portuguese church dating back to 1600.
 
Visitors to Stone Town still encounter the grandiose vision and dominant architectural style of a confident young Sultan who transferred the seat of his sultanate from the contentious capital of Muscat to the breezier climes of Zanzibar in 1832, and then began palace building in earnest, and seeding the coconut palms and clove plantations which soon defined Zanzibar as the ‘Spice Island’.
Zanzibar pic4 Exploring Zanzibar Tropical Island Adventure

Driving through the island centre now, it is worth stopping to explore the spice plantations, where a guided walk for passing tourists is likely to be more lucrative than vast crops to export, but it is a fine sensual pleasure to crumble cinnamon bark straight from the tree, to breathe the scent of cloves drying in the sun, to taste and guess the spice from a handful of pods and powders.

These are well used by the chefs and kitchens in beach hotels, where fishermen daily bring the catch of the day to be grilled, baked, battered or blanched with assorted Zanzibar spice.The coast is dotted with hotels, self-contained beach hideaways that relish their privacy and provide various levels of style and comfort.

I have been to most and head north by choice, to the northernmost peninsula which is occupied by Ras Nungwi Beach Hotel. The name is a very literal Swahili translation, but it says nothing of how this beach is secluded and the coral sands are blanched very, very pale. It does not tell how the wonderfully translucent and clear the sea is here, where a coral reef surrounds the shore creating a shallow wide expanse to explore until the tide rises high and then turquoise waves crash onto the beach. It is a naturally beautiful place.

Zanzibar pic5 Exploring Zanzibar Tropical Island Adventure
Turtles come ashore to lay their eggs when the moon is full, and the surrounding reefs are a thriving colourful world to snorkel and dive. Ras Nungwi Beach Hotel is essentially respectful of its place, each room constructed from local wood and coral rag to create a number of thatched round houses along the beach, with lodge rooms in gardens behind.
 
Soft sand pathways link the central thatched and open-sided restaurant to the rooms, pool and dive centre, providing the comforts of a fine hotel with a rustic, beach hideaway style. This is a fine place to lie back and soak up Zanzibar, crack open a coconut, watch the dhows on the far horizon and look forward to spice-scented, star filled African night.

Best Time to Visit Tanzania

Best Time to Visit Tanzania

1 1 Best Time to Visit Tanzania

The best wildlife viewing months in Tanzania are during the dry season from late June to October. The best chance of seeing the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti is during June and July and the time to see the wildebeest calving is late January to February. The southern and western circuit parks are best visited during the dry-season (June to October), unlike the more popular northern circuit parks that can be visited year-round. Tarangire is the only exception, since its wildlife viewing is considerably better in the dry-season as well.

Quick facts
Best time to go: June to October (All parks), June-July and January-February (Serengeti for the wildebeest migration & calving)
High Season: July to March (northern circuit parks; they get crowded), July to October (southern and western circuit parks; they don’t really get crowded any time of the year)
Low Season: April and May (northern circuit parks still get quite a few visitors unlike the southern and western circuit parks, where many lodges close down)
Best Weather: June to October (Little to no rainfall)
Worst Weather: March and April (Peak of wet season)
June to October – Dry Season
  • June and July are the best months to see the wildebeest migration.
  • Animals are easier to spot since they concentrate around waterholes and rivers and there is less vegetation.
  • There are fewer mosquitoes because there is little to no rain. Skies are clear and most days are sunny.
  • Even though most tourists visit during the dry season, the parks still don’t feel crowded, except for the Seronera area in the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater.
  • Mornings and nights get cold. It’s recommended to bring warm clothing for morning game drives in open vehicles during the months of June, July and August.
November to May – Wet Season
  • Late January to February is the time to see the calving in the southern Serengeti. This is an excellent time to see predator action.
  • The scenery is green and beautiful. It’s low season, meaning lower rates and less crowded parks.
  • Although wildlife is easier to spot in the dry season, you’ll still see plenty and most northern circuit parks offer good year-round game viewing.
  • Migratory birds are present and birdwatching is at its best.
  • Except for March, April and May, rains are mostly short afternoon showers and seldom have a negative impact on your trip.
  • March to May is the peak of the wet season.
  • Most big wildlife has migrated out of Tarangire NP and game viewing in Katavi, Selous and Ruaha is clearly better during the dry season.
Best time to go to Tanzania National parks
The Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater offer good wildlife viewing throughout the year. June and July are the best months for seeing the migration and February is the best month for the wildebeest calving. The dry months offer good game viewing throughout Tanzania. Tarangire and the southern and western circuit parks (including Katavi, Selous and Ruaha) are best visited in the dry season, from June to October.
 
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East African Countries

East African Countries

Five nations comprise the East African Community (EAC): Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia which are collectively known as The Horn of Africa is also typically considered part of East Africa. Comoros, Mauritius and Seychelles are small island nations in the Indian Ocean while Mozambique and Madagascar are often considered part of Southern Africa. Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe – often also included in Southern Africa, and formerly of the Central African Federation.

The region offers some of the world’s most exciting outdoor tourism. Most countries in the region were colonized by United Kingdom, Germany, Portugal, Belgium and France

Climate in this part of the continent is unusually cool and dry for an equatorial region, due to its mountainous configuration and westerly monsoon effects. The world’s third highest ‘Mount Kilimanjaro’ is situated in this East African and over 20,000 visitors reach its summit each year. Also, the largest river in the world, the Nile, runs through East Africa. Its source, Lake Victoria, is the world’s largest tropical lake. Lake Tanganyika, the world’s second deepest, is the source of the Congo river system. The lakes, rivers and tributaries of East Africa are among the world’s best for all forms of swimming, scuba and whitewater activity.

East Africa is also home to amazing concentrations of large wild animals, most famously the great ape, elephant, lion, rhinoceros, and wildebeest. All types of corporate and independent guided tours through the outdoor beauty are available. In this article will take you through some of the things you need to know about the history, economy and politics of the following East African countries. Sit down, relax and enjoy this piece!

South Sudan

South Sudan gained its independence from Sudan in 2011 and Its current capital is Juba, which is also its largest city. South Sudan is notable for having a varied geology. Part of the country lies in the region of the Sahara Desert, but the Nile River flows through the middle section of the country. Due to this, the nation is vulnerable to floods whenever there is a torrential rainfall. Couple of months ago, thousands of people fled their homes, houses were destroyed and more than hundred people died.

In recent years, Sudan had been marred with political violence as a result a conflict between President Salva Kirr and his Vice which led to the death of thousands of its citizens. During this political violence, UN report had it that, Sudan were recruiting child soldiers; which now raised a question if the country’s civil war is back?. But, South Sudan government refuted the claim and later agreed with the UN for new international peacekeeping force to come in and save the nation from going into another era of civil war.

Ethiopia

Ethiopia is one of the countries known as “the horn of Africa”. Legend has it that the Ark of the Covenant has been secreted away in a tiny Ethiopian village for centuries. The most striking geological element in the country is its division by the Great Rift Valley. This fissure was caused by volcanic lava deep within the canyons and gorges. Ethiopia is also blanketed by thick jungle, and is home to many rivers and lakes. Its capital, Adida Ababa, is among the most beautiful cities in Africa. Recently, Ethiopia became Africa’s largest producer of coffee which had led its to be among the top 15 fastest growing economies in Africa with a GDP growth of 4.5 percent. The first East African plant by South Korea’s Kia Motors Corp will be on Ethiopia soil with a mega deal signed with a local company to start assembling cars.

 
Eritrea

This small country has a very varied terrain. The interior of Eritrea is dominated by the Ethiopian Highlands that rise over 7,000 feet. Within these highlands can be found scattered rivers and streams. The coastal region of the country is bordered by the Red Sea and is actually semiarid in climatic conditions.

Kenya

One of the most well-known countries of East Africa is Kenya with coastline on the Indian Ocean. There are lowlands in both the northern and coastal regions of the country. Down south Kenya becomes flat and very dry. The Rift Valley also slices through Kenya, having created lakes as well as volcanic peaks rising to 17,000 feet. Kenya is east African biggest economy and its also among top 10 investment destination in Africa. September 2016, Kenya signed a business deal with Volkswagen South Africa to assemble cars in the country. And with the way its economy is fast growing, Kenya’s vision could transformed the country into a middle-income economy by 2030. With the recent visit of Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, it shows that Kenyan developers are the best in East Africa. Kenya is also ranked among the most friendly African countries for expatriates In 2016. Lupita Nyong’o, Oscar-award winning actress who took Hollywood by storm is a Kenyan and she is doing this great continent proud.

Uganda

The highlight of any visit to Uganda will take you to the southeastern corner, where you will find Lake Victoria. The land is very mountainous otherwise, with elevations between 3,000 and 6,000 feet quite common. Mountains reaching over 16,000 feet run alongside the western border, while to the east you’ll find Mt. Elgon, which is an impressive 14,000 feet. Uganda is also among the most friendly African countries for expatriates in 2016 and its occupies 25th position globally.

Just like Lupita Nyong’o from Kenya, Florence Kasumba, German actress of Ugandan origin, also took Hollywood by storm early this year after she appeared in the most popular film “Captain America: Civil War”. Arguably, Uganda president, Yoweri Museveni is currently the best president in East Africa with his leadership quality and excellent work since 30 years that he had been in power.

This came with the backing of former vice president, Prof Gilbert Balibaseka Bukenya, asking the country’s parliament to enact a law that will enable President Museveni to rule for life. In terms of economy, Uganda will become the first East African Country to open a gold refinery by the end of 2016 after signing a deal with a Belgian investor. Also, its government recently reduced single entry visa to boost tourism and i think that’s a great move from the path of the government and it’s a good news for tourists that are willing to travel to the country. Uganda is also among the East African countries who offer free public WiFi services to its citizens.

Seychelles

The Seychelles is actually an archipelago that is made up of roughly 90 small islands within the Indian Ocean. The Mahe group of islands are rocky with interior mountains. The Coralline islands are coral and inhospitable. The climate of the Seychelles is warm and wet.

Burundi

Burundi is mainly a country of plateaus. The Great Rift Valley has done its work here as well, creating peaks that rise 7,000 feet as well as having a hand in the shaping of long and narrow Lake Tanganyika. The high elevation of Burundi helps to moderate the otherwise tropical climate.

Activities to Do in Karatu Tanzania

Activities to Do in Karatu Tanzania

karatu Activities to Do in Karatu Tanzania

Karatu, Tanzania is a colorful  town which serves as a relaxing pause after wildlife safari. Located along the northern safari circuit, Karatu serves as gateway to the Ngorongoro Highlands and is located between Lake Manyara and the Ngorongoro Crater.

Due to its location, many safari goers end up overnight or stopping here for a quick break earning it the nickname “Safari Junction”. The busy downtown of Karatu is a mix of old and new with safari vehicles, local buses, and brightly colored  tuk-tuks riding alongside Maasai herders and ox-carts, while just outside town cultivated Iraqw farms and villages merge into the green vegetation of the Ngorongoro Forest.

Whether you are looking for cultural tours, hiking and biking opportunities, a chance to enjoy a slice of peaceful rural Tanzania, or simply a break from the dusty safari game drives, we think you should consider a stop in this underrated town. Here is our list of the top 10 things to do in Karatu Tanzania based on our visit. 

Top 10 Things to Do in Karatu Tanzania

As we noted, there are few guides written on things to do in Karatu. In fact, here is Lonely Planet’s description of Karatu: “This charmless town 14km southeast of Lodoare gate makes a convenient base for visiting Ngorongoro if you want to economize on entry fees” and the popular guidebook lists practically no suggestions for things to do.

We would not say Karatu is charming exactly (not sure we’d describe any of the towns in Tanzania as “charming”), but we found Karatu to be a delightful bustling town that serves as a great stop for a bit of relaxation between game parks and an excellent place to engage in some cultural tourism.

We chose to explore the area with a local guide and specifically arranged a few different guided tours with friendly and knowledgable Richard Njuga, coordinator of the Ganako Karatu Cultural Tourism Program. Proceeds from the cultural tours are used to support local environmental, educational, and health projects through KCECHO, a non-profit organization in Karatu. Almost all the listed experiences in this article can be arranged through Ganako Karatu and your hotelier who might offer additional options as well. Below is our top 10 things to do in Karatu in no particular order.

Take a Karatu Town Tour

A great way to  spend a couple of hours is to take a stroll around the town of Karatu. Visit the marketplace where you can explore rainbow-colored stalls and small shops that sell a bit of everything from vegetables and spices to Tinga Tinga paintings and carved wooden ornaments. This is a great place to barter for souvenirs and mingle with the locals. Along the way you might want to stop at a street vendor for a local snack such as fried cassava, chapati (fried flat bread), or fried bananas.

Keep a look out for the little mobile kiosks alongside the main road which have some colorful American namesakes such as the Mrs. Obama and John Kerry gift shops (there is also a Obama Hotel in town) which were featured in the The Amazing Race. In addition to the marketplace, we’d recommend venturing to one of the local brickmaking sites as brickmaking serves as a major industry in the area and the process is interesting to watch. If you are interested in a richer exploration of the town, consider booking a guided tour which can likely be arranged from your hotel or through the Ganako Karatu Cultural Tourism Program. 

Drink the Local Coffee

Tanzanian coffee may not have the international recognition of coffee from nearby countries such as Ethiopia and Kenya, but coffee has been grown in Tanzania for centuries and is one of the country’s largest exports. Karatu is an ideal growing area because of the mineral-rich volcanic soil and the altitude of the northern highlands.

There are a number of coffee plantations in the area, including the plantation at the well-known Gibb’s FarmShangri-La Estate  which produces NgoroNgoro Mountain Coffee, Blackburn Coffee Estate, and Ngila Coffee Estate. You can decide your level of interest in the local brew from simply sipping some of the local coffee at your lodge, buying a bag of beans to take back home, visiting a coffee plantation to learn the coffee production process, or actually staying on a working farm and coffee plantation such as Gibb’s Farm or the Shangri-La Estate.

Visit a Local Brewery

Travelers should try the local coffee while in Karatu; however, we also found out that Karatu has another type of brew for those wanting to be a bit more adventurous. It is probably best to visit with a guide but almost any local can also point you towards the brewery. We followed our guide Richard away from the market and through a maze of streets to the local brewery. The beer is boiled in one smoky room and stirred, fermented, bottled, and drank in another large room.

For less than a dollar, you are welcome to sample a cup of the beer. Richard asked that they give us beer that had been recently boiled to avoid any gastrointestinal issues (the safety and sanitation standards are not exactly up to par with Coors). A woman used a ladle to scoop a plastic cup full of beer from a plastic bucket of warm beer. The beer was warm and chewy as there were grains still remaining, but surprisingly it was mild and smooth in flavor. We made some quick (and tipsy) friends at the brewery before parting who seemed amused at our visit. We also walked by some other local people nearby who were grinding corn and other grains to be used for beer and spirits.

Volunteer your Time to a Worthy Project

There are a number of potential volunteer and charity opportunities in and around Karatu where you can benefit the local schools and orphanages, community centers, churches, or environment. Such opportunities can take place over the course of a day or last months depending on your interests and background. Remember that while you may want to work directly with kids, unless you can devote a significant amount of time (e.g., be a steady presence), it is less disruptive to children to help in other ways such as building school furniture, putting up a fence at the local orphanage, collecting school supplies, or painting a classroom.

It is best to commit to a project in advance so that the organizer can be prepared for your visit. Even if you don’t want to volunteer your actual time, you can still donate to a local project by donating money or supplies (e.g., school or medical supplies). Given our healthcare background, we took the time to visit the non-profit Foundation for African Medicine and Education (FAME) clinic and hospital founded and run by American husband-wife team Dr. Frank Artres and Susan Gustafson. Our visit here and discussion with both “Dr. Frank” and Susan was really inspiring and the clinic is an amazing example of what people can do when they dedicate their time to making a difference! Free guided visits to FAME can be arranged but must be done so in advance.

Explore the Karatu Iraqw Market

On the seventh day of each month a large market springs up in Karatu with a smaller version also taking place on the 25th of each month. This bimonthly market with local Iraqw vendors sells handicrafts, livestock, food, spices, clothing, household goods, pottery, and other items. A visit to the market is a great opportunity to pick up some unique souvenirs and stretch your legs. If your visit doesn’t correspond with the dates of the market, you can still visit the marketplace in Karatu town. 

Learn about the Iraqw culture

The Iraqw people are a Cushitic-speaking ethnic group who are well-known for their agricultural skills. The Iraqw have a large presence in the Karatu region and you can learn more about the Iraqw culture by interacting at the local markets, visiting a village, or even arranging a homestay. We took a hiking tour with Richard at Ganako-Karatu to an area studded with small Iraqw villages, farms, and homes just outside of Karatu. While many Iraqw now live in more modern housing, some Iraqw still live in traditional Iraqw houses made of mud, sticks, and straw.

Historically, the Iraqw and Maasai were warring tribes (there is still some animosity between some members of these groups) and the Iraqw devised a way to keep the Maasai from being able to steal their cattle by building their homes up against hillsides and keeping the animals inside the home. At night Maasai raiders would not be able to locate the homes or animal pens as they’d walk right along the roofs without realizing the Iraqw were dwelling inside with their goats and cattle. Along the hike we were able to see some of the traditional homes, meet some locals tending to their animals and crops, and even got to both try our hands at grinding and pounding maize.

We also visited a homestead of a lovely Iraqw woman who lives with her eight children and her mother in a traditional home. Sadly the husband/father ran out on the family several years ago, making it very difficult for the family to earn a living. We were offered seats on wooden stools and cups of hot tea. While no one in the family speaks English, we were able to converse a bit with the family with Richard serving as a translator.

Chickens, goats, and dog walk in and out of the home with a goat pen located in the center of the home and a cattle pen outside. It was very humbling to see how simply the family lives and it is clear that they sometimes struggle to be able to feed and clothe themselves. There was definitely something voyeuristic about the visit akin to slum tourism, but we learned from Richard that this family depends on the supplemental income from visits (Richard provides them with some money from each tour and they often receive tips from visitors) to be able to provide for the children. If you visit a homestead, it is appreciated if you leave a small monetary (preferably in Tanzanian shillings) or food donation to the visited family if you enjoyed their hospitality.

Search for Elephant Caves and Waterfalls in the Ngorongoro Forest Highlands

Nature lovers will want to consider a walk in the Ngorongoro Forest Highlands which is a nice compliment to a visit to the Ngorongoro Crater. With a guide, you’ll learn about medicinal plants, view a number of bird species, watch waterfalls tumble down a cliff, and see the elephant caves. If you are lucky, you may also see a number of animals who live in the forest such as elephants, buffalo, baboons, and various reptiles. The so-called elephant caves are where elephants, as well as a number of other species, come to extract salt and other minerals from the soil.

We saw lots of evidence of elephants and buffalo along the paths in the form of dung, vegetation destruction, and footprints, but the only animals we spotted were baboons and birds. The entrance to the trail is located near Gibb’s Farm and while you can come here independently or with a local guide, you’ll be required to have one of the Ngorongoro Conservation Authority guides with you once you pass the entry booth. The Endoro Gate Post is open from 7:30am – 4:00pm (7:30-16:00) and the hike is best done in the cooler morning hours as it requires some moderate exertion. Come prepared with sun protection, good walking shoes, and insect repellent and remember that while your chances of seeing a buffalo or elephants aren’t high these animals walk these same paths every day.

Hike or Bike in the Countryside

If you need a break from being cooped up in a safari vehicle all day, Karatu is a place where you get out and explore on your own two feet. Whether you want to bike along a dirt country road to take in pastoral scenery, hike inside the lush Ngorongoro Highland Forest, or climb a hill for some great views, you can find something that will appeal. Tours catering to specific interests such as medicinal plants or ornithology can also be arranged with a local knowledgable guide.

Also, just because you are outside the Ngorongoro Conservation Area doesn’t mean the animals stick to the boundaries, and buffalo, elephants, baboons, hyena, bushback, and other animals are often spotted around the countryside of Karatu. Ask your hotelier for help in arranging for bike rentals (consider if you’ll need regular bikes or mountain bikes) and to find out about scenic walking and hiking opportunities.

Use Karatu as a Base for Day Trips

Many budget and camping safari operators use Karatu as a base for visits to the nearby Ngorongoro Crater as the town is located not far from the gate to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and a stay in Karatu may save money on entrance fees and lodging. In addition to visits to the amazing Ngorongoro Crater, Karatu can also be used as a base for day trips to Lake Manyara, Lake Eyasi (where the Hadzabe Bushmen reside), Mlima Nyoka (climb “Snake Hill” for some great views), Oldean Village (a historical German settlement), and hikes along the Rift Valley. It can also be used as a base to visit Tarangire National Park, but we would not recommend it as it is a long drive. Depending on the day trip, you’ll want to take into account the extra time you might need to spend driving back and forth in relation to any cost savings or added convenience of staying in Karatu. 

Relax and Recharge 

Most travelers arriving in Karatu have been riding along dusty, bumpy roads, standing in Jeeps to observe the local wildlife, and eating lunches out of a box. Some are only a day or two into their safari while others have been at it for a week or more. Karatu is a perfect place to relax and recharge your traveler batteries. It can be the perfect place to enjoy a soft bed, a day without a full safari sightseeing schedule, and the peace of rural Tanzania. Karatu offers a range of accommodations from basic campsites to luxury lodges.

We stayed for two nights at the Karatu Simba Lodge and enjoyed having two full days to sleep in, relax by the pool, do some reading and blogging, go hiking, and take in cultural activities. If you are looking for some extra luxury, consider booking a lodge with massage and spa services such as Gibb’s Farm or Kitela Lodge. As amazing as seeing lions and elephants every day can be, sometimes you need a break to better appreciate the experience and to give your back a break from those bumpy roads!

So there are our top 10 things to do in Karatu Tanzania! We found Karatu to be a delightful bustling town that serves as a great stop for a bit of relaxation between game parks and an excellent place to engage in some cultural tourism. Those traveling through Karatu may want to spend a day or two exploring this often overlooked town.

Do you agree with Lonely Planet’s opinion or would you consider a stop here to explore this colorful town? If you’ve been, we’d love to hear about your visit and opinion on things to do in Karatu. Any questions about visiting Karatu, just ask us!

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